Why Money Life has lost its follower in me

Recently, Money life posted a news report titled Aam Admi Party look at trade unionism to increase its support base?
To begin with, I notice the question mark hanging at the end of the headline. Adding a question mark is often used as a savior in the field of journalism when enough information about a case is not available. And while the journalist/publication can get away by using a question mark by still reporting about a group or individual, nevertheless, such reporting also has the potential to frame the group or individual written about in a negative way – especially when the group or individual written about is not quoted in the report or does not present his or her side of the story in the news report. I wonder why was Money Life, a magazine which I until now respected for its journalism, was so hurried to publish this story if it had any ‘questions’? And if it did seek clarification on the ‘questions’ it had.

The news report does not mention if a response was sought, and if it did receive any response from spokesperson of AAP or Arvind Kejriwal or Rahul Bajaj or spokesperson or individuals from the Labor Union and whether there was “acceptance”, “denial”, “no comments”, “unavailability” etc about Kejriwal-Bajaj meeting. But these are just some of the journalistic inaccuracies in the news report – the analytic framework of this report is riddled with naivety.

Few Indian journalists have time to analyse politics and the lack of this clearly shows in this news report.
True, parties like BSP, Shiv-Sena originated from Labor Unions. But this report missed the point that these parties originated by serving the interests of a particular ‘group’. BSP, which was started by Kanshi Ram in 1978, was formed to serve the interests of All India Backward and Minority Community Employees Federation (SC/ST& OBC). Shiv-Sena, on the other hand originated to serve the interests of Maharashtrians, and to stop the growing influence of Gujratis and South Indians in Maharashtra. To add, Sena’s protest, on many occasions, was violent in nature. Both BSP and Shiv-Sena (which are used as an example in this article) developed into full-fledged political parties as they gained influence and power over the groups they represented or protested for and eventually they evolved to set agenda for a particular caste, religion, faith. If these political parties represent anything at all today – it’s divisive politics.

On the other hand AAP has originated from a collective peaceful and non-violent mass protest of the Jan Lokpal movement – faith, caste, religion or being a member of a particular group was not a variable for this protest. Nor did Jan Lokpal Protest, which is the birth of AAP, served interest of an exclusive group, caste, religion or faith. The Money Life comparison of AAP to Shiv-Sena and BSP itself is a fallacy and reflects poorly on the journalist’s capacity to research and analyse political events in India. The ‘Unionism’ framing is not only faulty, but ridiculous.

Considering the above argument, what I failed to understand is why Money Life considers it as something “news worthy”, and if it is why is it presented in a largely negative framing – as if factory workers or trade unions being extended support by AAP is something alarming. Aren’t these workers common man? And why shouldn’t AAP support them? Some of these trade unions have already participated in the Janlokpal protest individually or collectively. Certainly, Money Life can choose to see a ‘strategy’ in AAP associating with Labor Unions, but it misses taking a holistic perspective and furthermore uses irrelevant examples to make a point.
AAP will go anywhere where interests of a common man are suppressed/affected. And anywhere where a common man will feel suppressed or affected will associate with and approach AAP. This has been proved time and again – take the serious case of sexual abuse of Gudiya when the immediate family members of the victim approached AAP after Delhi police failed them. There are many cases which are perhaps not even reported in the mainstream media.

Lastly, this Money Life report is unclear but suggest some connection that AAP first (?) supported the Labor Union at Bajaj, and then Arvind Kejriwal met Rahul Bajaj seeking his ‘support’ for a TV Channel. This information, the article mentions is something which it has ‘learned’. What is the source? While I would not ask the journalist to mention the name, but why should it be considered reliable? Isn’t that something which must be mentioned? Also, what do you mean by ‘support’? I expect some elaboration on this – or is this some news snippet of speculative bollywood actor-actress affair where the reader is encouraged for guess work? Please mention ‘dates’ to help understand the order of events (when did Kejriwal meet Bajaj?). Regardless, I consider this is a highly speculative theory which Money Life presents – unless it cares to support it with facts. At least include quotes of Arvind Kejriwal or Rahul Bajaj or Labor Unions in question or conduct your own investigation? The reporting in this story reflects poorly on Money Life’s journalistic ethical standards in my view.

As an AAM AADMI who likes transparency, I am more than happy to know the truth. But journalism based on hasty and speculative information, and one which does not follow all the basic rules (like including quotes – denial or acceptance) or one that does not show the intent of presenting facts, is something which I have always questioned. All in all, I will be skeptical of reading information provided in Money Life henceforth.
By Money life Follower